UNITED NATIONS, Aug 5, 2010 (IPS) - As the U.N. investigates new allegations of sexual abuse by peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo, most troop contributing countries continue to evade accounting for how they handle disciplinary actions.


A senior U.N. official who asked for anonymity told IPS, "Although there have been statistical reductions in the number of allegations, sexual abuse involving peacekeepers is still rampant, despite pronouncements that they have been curbed."


By Faith Karimi


(CNN) -- A Sudanese rebel group has signed a deal allowing access to its bases to ensure children are not being used as soldiers and to protect them from sexual violence, the United Nations said.


As part of the agreement Wednesday, the rebels pledged to release and hand over to the United Nations anyone under age 18 caught up in the Darfur conflict.


The Justice and Equality Movement rebels also agreed to release children "not directly associated" with the group but used by others in the conflict.


By Hilary Hylton


By Don Aucoin


CHESTNUT HILL-- With just a few clicks of her desktop computer’s keyboard in her home office here, Gail Dines travels to a place she wishes did not exist: a pornographic website.


The images seem designed to maximize the women’s humiliation, a point that is not lost on Dines. “If you really watch it carefully, you can see that they’re in pain, exhausted, demoralized,’’ she says, looking somberly at the screen.


By Justin Fenton


Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III said a focus on homicides and nonfatal shooting investigations may have contributed to neglect of growing problems with the way the department investigated sex offenses.


Bealefeld also said that the department no longer will allow patrol officers to dismiss rape claims at the crime scene, something that accounts for nearly four in 10 rape calls to 911 failing to generate a police report. All claims will now be referred to specialized detectives, he said.


Newswise — Adolescent sex offenders are often stereotyped and treated as socially inept, but new research negates this image, finding that they are more likely to be characterized by atypical sexual interests -- such as desire for prepubescent children, coercive sex with peers and adults, and exposing their genitals to strangers. Adolescent sex offenders are also more likely to have a history of sexual abuse themselves, been exposed to sexual violence in their families, and experienced early exposure to sex or pornography.


On Monday, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced reforms to the rules for claiming veterans' benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder. The White House says the move will ease the burden of proof that veterans face when trying to prove the mental wounds of war. But the new regulations are silent on the suffering of women who have experienced sexual trauma in the military.


The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center recently celebrated its 35th and 10th anniversaries.

The NSVRC marked the occasion with an open house that highlighted milestones in the organization’s existence—such as the declaration of April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month in 2001, publishing of ‘The Spectrum of Prevention: Toward a Community Solution to Sexual Violence’ with Prevention Institute in 2006 and the completion of the SART toolkit in 2008.

By Rachel B. Duke


The decision by Swiss authorities Monday not to extradite Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski over his rape of a 13-year-old girl provoked anger and disappointment in the U.S., though Washington made no retaliation threats.


Conservative critics saw the release as the latest example of European "sophistication" about sex and/or Hollywood rallying around one of its own, while some feminist and anti-rape groups saw sexist excuse-making and coddling of the rich and famous.


BALTIMORE -- Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Police Commissioner Fred Bealefeld announced the creation of a new hotline for victims and survivors of rape and sexual assault.


The hotline is meant to connect with services and report past incidents or mistreatment that may have occurred while reporting a sexual assault crime. The number to call is 443-279-0379.



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